exploring Montreux

Montreux, Switzerland, is a magical destination coloured by a fascinating history and culture. In last week’s post you read about Montreux’s connection to the music industry. I’d like to continue exploring Montreux–the small city on the Lake Geneva shoreline in the heart of the region known as the Montreux Riviera.


We strolled along the shore of Lake Geneva from the heart of town to the Chillon Castle. It was sure worth the hike–to have the opportunity to explore the Chateau de Chillon.

You can’t visit Montreux and not be captivated by the omnipresence of the Chateau de Chillon, also known as Chillon Castle. You can see it from almost any view in Montreux. The massive castle was built over several centuries, with earliest mentions being from 1150 AD. There have been numerous additions, renovations, and restorations over the past 850 years that have changed, preserved, or enhanced what may have been. But regardless of whenever one may have visited the castle, there is no doubt that you would have been somewhat mystified by its incredible presence on Lake Geneva–known locally as Lac Léman.




The Chateau de Chillon really has an amazing presence as you draw near it and let yourself be transported to medieval times. The interior of Chillon Castle is just as awe-inspiring as the exterior. I wish I’d had more time to explore!



Chillon Castle hosts a wide range of special events including art shows and book launches.

It was kind of spooky to see a noose hanging in the lower level of the castle, but that was to remind us that Chillon Castle once contained a prison. On the bright side, Château de Chillon continues to host gala events at this incredible venue. Can you imagine enjoying a wedding or candlelight dinner here? Check out the website for photos of some of the events they have hosted. I’ll have to see if I can uncover a connection to chocolate …

In this post, we let our senses go wild as we taste the various delights that Montreux has to offer. And yes … that does include chocolate. 🙂

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

64 Responses

  1. Bola says:

    I’ve not been to Switzerland but hope to get there one day. The noose does look spooky though

    • Hi Bola and welcome back to my site. Yes, Switzerland definitely has something for everyone. I did really enjoy the Montreux Riviera, as each city along the shoreline of Lake Geneva has its own history and personality. Including the photo of the noose reminded us that those chalets and castles weren’t just for parties and opulence! They had other purposes, and in the case of Castle Chillon, it contained a prison.
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…best swiss chocolate of LucerneMy Profile

  2. It is definitely a place that I would love to visit!I love castles, that is why it is my type of place!

  3. Looks like another place I need to visit! Love this photo of you–-expansive grin in an expressing place!

    Thank you

  4. I love seeing the “bones” of these ancient places: the high arched ceilings, the pillars and rock work. It’s fun to try and imagine what drew people long ago to a place and the lives of those who lived in around the shadows of Chatau de Chillon. Lovely photos!
    Anita @ No Particular Place To Go recently posted…Part Two – Figuring It Out Along The Way – Life In PortugalMy Profile

    • Thx so much, Anita. Glad you enjoyed the post and pics. I agree. It’s interesting to see the behind-the-scenes aspects of a popular place. Gives you much greater insight. Have a wonderful holiday season. 🙂

  5. It indeed is spooky to see a noose hanging , the view of The Chateau de Chillon is simply stunning.

  6. I love old castles – so atmospheric. And this one has a wonderful setting too…
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  7. The noose strikes me as a great reminder that, although we romanticize the Middle Ages in TV shows and films, in fact it was a brutal period in Europe’s history. Nevertheless, I’d love to explore that castle in Montreux!
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  8. Vyjay says:

    The castle looks mysterious and the noose and the narrow passaged do look scary. Wandering in the castle, probably you never know if you would bump into a strange medieval character from the past.
    Vyjay recently posted…Le Petit Elephant, Kochi – A ReviewMy Profile

  9. Ami says:

    The interiors of the castle look amazing. I would love to know more about the prisons and other stories of this castle. And maybe spend half a day here too 🙂
    Ami recently posted…Delights of the Junagarh Fort Bikaner in RajasthanMy Profile

  10. Wonderful to see that the chateau has survived the elements over the centuries. I wonder if it’s ever been used in a movie set?
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  11. I’m down with any castle – noose or no noose! And we’ve been trying to get to Switzerland for a while now, so this is one to put on that future itinerary.
    jane canapini recently posted…Kissimmee: There’s Magic in the AirMy Profile

  12. W.A.Rusho says:

    What great pictures. Now I am completely jealous of you, you get to visit places and eat chocolate, and visit medieval castles.
    W.A.Rusho recently posted…Presents and Politics for a Medieval ChristmasMy Profile

    • Hi William I thought you would enjoy that post as I know how deeply you are fascinated with medieval culture. Did you read the post I wrote on Gruyeres? I was also at that castle/chalet and it was equally as impressive, although the setting was not as dramatic.
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…exploring MontreuxMy Profile

  13. That noose definitely is a bit chilling. I hope they remove it before a wedding reception or the groom may think it’s for him if he misbehaves! The castle is another highlight that makes this area fabulous to visit
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  14. Montreux is a magical place. Chateau Chillon is beautiful and has that eerie allure of Old Europe. Maybe you can find a chocolate recreation of the castle.
    The Travel Ninjas recently posted…Vietnamese Food Spotlight – Is “Banh Duc Nong” Better Than Pho?My Profile

  15. Hi Doreen, castles are fascinating to visit, aren’t they? This one looks beautiful. The noose is a bit ominous. Glad you thought to capture that image. 🙂
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  16. Sue Reddel says:

    That noose is really scary. I’m enjoying all the history and beauty of Montreux but I have to admit that I really can’t wait to hear more about the food and of course the chocolate!
    Sue Reddel recently posted…Christmastime in ChicagoMy Profile

  17. Anda says:

    Visiting Lake Geneva and exploring the Montreux Riviera is my dream too, Doreen. There is so much beauty and a great deal of history in this place. Switzerland is one of those countries that you could never get bored of. Ah, and all that chocolate….
    Anda recently posted…Christmas in Romania – Celebrations, Customs and TraditionsMy Profile

  18. David, my other half, spent three weeks at school in Montreux learning French when he was in high school. He took me there not long after we met and showed me around. Chateau Chillon is stunning.
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  19. Jeri says:

    If and when I make it back to Switzerland, Montreux is certainly on my list of places to see now. The dangling noose is a nice touch and reminder that not all picture perfect things are picture perfect.

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Jeri. I’m glad you understand why I included the photo of the noose. It was not for shock value, but rather as you say, to show that even the prettiest place (or person!) can have a dark side.
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…exploring MontreuxMy Profile

  20. Patti says:

    I was enjoying your photos and then eeekk! a hangman’s noose caught me by surprise! But, I suppose the reality was shocking as well. Chillon Castle looks as if it has quite the story to tell and when we explore places such as the castle, it reminds me how young the US actually is.
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  21. There aren’t many things more enchanting than a castle on the water! Chillon Castle looks lovely!
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  22. Sushmita says:

    I love visiting Castles, by far I have visited 5 castles located in India. There are many more remaining 🙂

    Chillon Castle looks impressive of the images you shared. Will soon check out the website to view other images too!

    Thanks for sharing Doreen, looking forward to next week’s post!
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  23. Chillon Castle is impressive! I love the picture with the water dividing the castle from the walkway/park. I can imagine feeling transported to medieval times.
    Donna Janke recently posted…New World Old FortMy Profile

  24. Oh I just love things like this Doreen! I have always been an ancient history buff and look for places like this to explore whenever I travel – this would be a must for me. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
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  25. neha says:

    That noose does send a little bit of chill down the spines. Otherwise, I love old castles and would love to visit here sometimes.
    neha recently posted…10 must visit spots in Chittorgarh fort RajasthanMy Profile

  26. Esther says:

    As always Doreen, I love your photography, especially the first one with you by the lake.
    Esther recently posted…The Self in Full BloomMy Profile

  27. Beverly says:

    What fabulous photos you took, Doreen! What fabulous places you have visited!

  28. Esther says:

    I sure hope they wafted that castle with plenty of sage smoke before using the venue for weddings, after knowing it was used for a prison. Wouldn’t want that kind of energy in a marriage. 😉
    Esther recently posted…The Self in Full BloomMy Profile

    • Interesting point, Esther! I have encountered some places in Switzerland where principles of Feng shui were used. I will check with the authorities of the Chillon Castle to see if they have done any kind of cleansing ceremony. Truly, the feeling you get at this site is uplifting and not negative, so I think that the negative energy must have been outed.
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…exploring MontreuxMy Profile

  29. Loved seeing Chillon Castle again. Thanks for bringing back the great memories.
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  30. When I was in Switzerland I visited Château de Chillon but I don’t remember the noose! I’m sure I would have remembered that. It’s definitely worth a visit and I think I walked there, along the shore, from Montreux.
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  31. Linda says:

    My gosh Doreen, these are gorgeous photos! I especially love the one of you with the lake and castle in the background!

  32. What is the noose thing in your one photo?
    TammyJo Eckhart recently posted…Color Your Candy DreamsMy Profile

  33. Phoenicia says:

    Is that a rope they hung people with in the 4th photograph – how chilling! No, I would not enjoy spending time in this castle. There is something eerie about it. Whilst the architecture is grand and extremely solid, I would be too busy thinking of the many happenings that took place here.
    Phoenicia recently posted…Savings: how much of a priority is it for you?My Profile

  34. Mar Pages says:

    Wow! So much history in that castle. I love the mood it’s giving off, creepy yet regal. Looking forward to hearing about the taste sensations in the next post. Bring it on!

  35. Ken Dowell says:

    It’s amazing to think of the engineering that went into the construction of the castle in Montreaux, realizing that basically everything had to be done by hand.

    • Hi Ken and thanks for your comment. Yes, the medieval castles I have been in over in Europe really are amazing structures. Most of our modern-day buildings don’t make too to 100 years old. These structures are often in the area of 1000 years old and still looking good!

  36. Chris says:

    Thanks for some more insights into Montreaux.

    I must ask, have you found it difficult to grapple with the cost of visiting Switzerland?

    All I’ve met, including locals, have advised that it is exorbitantly expensive!
    Chris recently posted…The house at number six…My Profile

    • HI Chris. Yes, Switzerland is expensive. There’s no way to whitewash that. As a professional travel writer, I am very fortunate that most of the costs for the trips I take are covered by my hosts. But I am still cogniscent of the real costs of the destinations I visit and always include relevant links so that readers can check the costs for themselves.
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…exploring MontreuxMy Profile

  37. Erica says:

    Love the picture of you along Lake Geneva. The photo of the noose at Chillon Castle is a bit sobering. But it also serves as a reminder of the past which makes it a very powerful image.
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  38. Looks like another place I need to visit. I love castles–even with the noose! Love this photo of you–expansive grin in an expressing place!

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